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Mavs coach Rick Carlisle wary of ‘much improved’ Thunder center Steven Adams

Steven Adams, Rick Carlisle, Mavs, Thunder

The Dallas Mavericks take on the Oklahoma City Thunder Saturday night, and Mavs coach Rick Carlisle has high praise for Thunder big man Steven Adams.

Steven Adams is one of the most underrated players in the game. The 25-year-old is averaging a double-double this season, putting up 14.0 points and 10.5 rebounds while shooting 57.7 percent from the field. Moreover, the Thunder have an offensive rating of 119.0 when Adams is on the court, which drops to 102.0 when he goes to the bench.

With that said, it’s not a surprise that Rick Carlisle is wary of Adams and his impact on both ends of the floor.

The Thunder have the fifth best defense in the NBA, with Adams anchoring the frontcourt. They boast a 7-4 record so far and are currently riding a seven-game winning streak.

All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook won’t play for the Thunder against the Mavs, which means the team’s offense is going to run through Paul George. Adams has a good rapport with George in the pick-and-roll game and the team is expected to lean on the big man to provide a much-needed offensive boost.

Rick Carlisle and the Mavs will be counting on center DeAndre Jordan to limit Adams in the post.

In 2016, Adams signed a four-year, $100 million extension with Oklahoma City. With the cap rising year after year, Adams’ contract looks like a bargain.